However, it sounds like the Patriots drew a line in the sand, with Meyers opting to head off to the desert.
Meyers and Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell joined Felger & Mazz on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Monday and was asked what the difference was between the two contracts, along with how far apart they were.
“A million,” said Meyers. “They wouldn’t move.”
The negotiations last offseason were certainly interesting, and the initial reports weren’t promising. Based on what came out during that period, it definitely felt like the Patriots didn’t have any intention of paying Meyers the type of money necessary to consummate a deal based on his production.
That was disappointing because Meyers had developed from an undrafted player in 2019 into a key – and reliable – player in the Patriots’ offense.
But when it came time to keep him, no deal was struck. Meyers said the two sides were close but the Patriots wouldn’t budge, even hinting that former coach Bill Belichick potentially was the one who may have had some say in that final decision.
“They just wouldn’t budge,” said Meyers. “I mean, at the end of the day, he didn’t want to move. And I respect it, it’s his job to do what’s best for his team or what he thinks is best for this team. It just didn’t allow what I felt like I was worth.”
As for whether or not had the Patriots met him at the same level the Raiders had, Meyers said he would have liked to have stayed, although he’s not sure if that might have been enough.
“I wouldn’t have minded staying,” said Meyers. “I don’t know, honestly. It would have been a different conversation. I probably would have thought about it a little differently.”
Following his signing in Las Vegas, the Patriots later signed Kansas City Chiefs free agent JuJu Smith-Schuster to a contract averaging about the same money that Meyers had received from the Raiders, with Meyers tweeting, “Cold world, lol,” after the news came out.
Obviously, the Patriots came up on the wrong end of that deal. Smith-Schuster, who was recovering from a knee injury he had suffered in the postseason, never got back to the level he had been prior to the injury and it left New England hamstrung on offense.
Having seen how it all ultimately played out, Meyers has no ill-feelings toward Smith-Schuster, saying the situation didn’t really have anything to do with him.
“I mean, JuJu, at the end of the day, he’s a man and I respect him, and it has nothing to do with him, really,” said Meyers. “I think he’s a good player. I think football just caught up to him. I don’t know what his situation is, but it’s tough.”
While Smith-Schuster’s knee was never listed as an issue on the team’s injury report, he had a tough year. He missed a total of six games in 2023, suffering a concussion in Week 5 that kept him out of two games, followed by an ankle injury that hampered him over the final month of the season and eventually saw him finish the year on injured reserve.
He ultimately finished the 2023 season with just 29 catches for 260 yards and one touchdown.
No other player came anywhere close to matching Meyers’ totals last season. Meyers had averaged over 800 yards in each of his previous two seasons in New England, with Demario Douglas finishing with 561 yards on 49 receptions. But more importantly, Meyers had been the club’s leading receiver on third down in each of those years by a significant margin.
When the team needed a “gotta have it” play in 2023, no one stepped into that role and it left a massive hole for a team that struggled to move the chains all season.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual for Meyers in 2023. He finished his first year with the Raiders with 71 catches for 807 yards and eight touchdowns, one of which came against his former team in Week 6 during New England’s 21-17 loss in Las Vegas.
Meyers said that things are different for him with his new team, adding that he wasn’t treated with the same respect he says he’s received since joining the Raiders.
“It’s different. I’m a different person here so I appreciate it,” explained Meyers. “[It’s different] as far as a respect thing. There, I really had to prove who I was every day. Like, every single day, I had to be better. Not just the same, but better. Here, I want to be better every single day. So it’s different.”
Does he feel like he was utilized better there? Meyers does feel like that was the case.
“Yeah, yeah. I mean, not just to call people out or throw anybody under the bus, but I was more of a focus here than I was there,” said Meyers. “Whereas there, I was more so doing what I had to do to survive and feed my family.”
Meyers went on to say that he enjoyed his time in New England, and he’s disappointed things didn’t work out.
“I did enjoy Boston, it was great,” he said. “The guys who were there, they were like family members to me. The receiver room, TB [Troy Brown], I still talk to Troy all the time, that’s my guy. So it was definitely a sting when I left, but I understand the business side.”
Here’s the full interview with more from Meyers:
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Jakobi Meyers